Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
Thank you for your continued support and interest in our work! I hope you enjoy reading about The Playing Field each month.
We have had a good start to the school year. I am so impressed with the skill level of our staff and their ability to help children! Transitions can be difficult for both children and adults, but I have seen our teachers support children in the most amazing ways!
This is just the beginning of our fifth school year. It is remarkable to consider how we have come from a young program and staff with little trauma background to a skilled group of educators! I attribute much of this success to the extensive Conscious Discipline training our staff receives and the ongoing coaching.
I am truly honored to work with this team!
Wishing you all the best,
The Hat Ladies
Children from The Playing Field recently enjoyed a visit from “The Hat Ladies.” Led by Nancy Daly, these wonderful volunteers sew fleece hats for children all around Dane County.
On October 15th, six ladies arrived with precut pieces of fleece. Each child was able to choose the colors for their hat and watch it being sewn. This is always a favorite for our children!
We are grateful that every child in our program has a warm hat for the coming winter!
When the cold weather arrives, we will also have children who need additional weather gear. We don’t have room to store a lot of items so, when a need arises, we post it on our Facebook page. If you might consider donating coats, snow pants, or boots, please watch our Facebook page for a list of needs.
Training With Dr. Barbara Sorrels
As part of our effort to bring high quality professional development opportunities to our staff, we invited Dr. Barbara Sorrels to speak at our October staff training.
Dr. Sorrels wrote the award winning book, Reaching and Teaching Children Impacted by Trauma. She is also the Executive Director of The Institute for Childhood Education.
We were grateful for the opportunity to bring this training to our staff. In addition, we invited staff from our community partners, Reach Dane and The Road Home.
Volunteers from Bethany United Methodist Church set up and served lunch. This was very helpful and allowed all of our staff to engage fully in the training.
We are grateful for Dr. Sorrels, our staff, our partners and our volunteers!
Students from St. Ann’s
Since our first year, eighth graders from St. Ann’s School have been regular visitors to our program. Teacher Tonya Talbert has been arranging these trips as an opportunity for her students to serve in the community.
The students have already made two visits in this school year. They are always eager to enter the classrooms and play with children. Our children really enjoy these visits and it is beautiful to see the interactions that occur!
In addition to playing with the children, St. Ann’s students help with various tasks such as folding clothes or raking leaves.
At Christmas time, the students have collected for our family emergency fund and delivered a gift to each child. This is a wonderful partnership and we are thankful for their continued visits!
From time to time, people ask about donating used goods. While we greatly appreciate the thought, it is often not practical for us to receive such items.
The No Thank You List
Used Books – When we receive books, we have to have a staff person go through them to assure that they are culturally relevant and reflect the values of our School Family. We are also limited on storage space, so having multiple copies of each book can cause a challenge.
Clothing – Storage space is always a challenge in early childhood programs. In fact, we pay to rent storage space so that our classrooms can rotate furniture and materials. While we do occasionally see needs for clothing, we just don’t have the space to store items until a need arises. When we need clothing, we post the needed item along with the size on our Facebook page.
Car Seats – Due to concerns related to recalls and expiration dates, we cannot accept used car seats. We also are unable to determine if seats have been involved in an accident.
Toys – Used toys are another item that we cannot receive. We may not be able to confirm the appropriate age for materials. Pieces are often missing and/or broken and we must devote staff time to assessing the condition of items.
Ways to Be Helpful
Gas or Grocery Gift Cards – We keep gift cards on hand to help families during difficult times. Even cards with a small amount are helpful.
Items from our Amazon Wish List – Our teachers put items that they would like to receive on the wish list. When these items arrive, it is like a birthday or holiday celebration! (The teachers are often as thrilled as the children!)
Packages of New Underwear – New, child-sized underwear is always needed and appreciated.
Volunteer – If you have time to volunteer, there are many ways to get involved. Consider the following opportunities: Help a teacher on our next staff work day, assist with prepping classroom materials, volunteer in the office or in classrooms. Contact Us about volunteering today!